Tuesday, July 3, 2012

No Oridinary Chocolate Cake

This past weekend we had afternoon tea for our lovely friend Nick's belated birthday. Being a fellow sweet-tooth we decided to design a cake to suit not only his favourite flavours but one that is rich, decadent and just plain delicious! This creation is all Nat's, I just helped create it. 


This cake is very deceptive, from the naked eye (when it's whole) it looks like a good ol' chocolate cake with yummy frosting but when you cut into it there are surprise layers. These consist of chocolate fudge cake hollowed out and filled with peanut butter cheese cake, topped with salted caramel sauce and iced with chocolate frosting. 
Yes, I know what you're thinking, a heart attack on a plate and you may be right, but let me tell you this cake is amazing and I am still dreaming of it now! The really cool thing is that it can be adapted to whatever flavours you like.
This particular cake is going to be dubbed 'The Giant Peanut Butter Cup' and is now in the top 5 of my favourite sweet things, perhaps even my number 1 choice at the moment!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tonik Night Market Stall

Last Thursday the 21st June, Nat and I had a dessert stall at the Tonik Night Market. It was a cute little market held in the function room at my work Tonik Bar. It was quite a successful night as we only came home with a couple of bags of biscuits.

Things we sold:
- Cranberry and white chocolate biscuits
- Nut Loaf
- Chocolate tarts with assorted fillings: jaffa, homemade honeycomb, peanut butter, mint, key lime meringue, salted caramel and oreo
- Homemade honeycomb

There will be another one near Christmas so you should come down for a look (and a sweet treat). There were lots of other cute stalls that sold clothes, handmade jewelery, cake stands, candles and lots more. 

Here are some pics of our sweet treats.

Chicken, Sage and Pumpkin Pie

When I think of winter dishes I think of hearty soups and casseroles and of course pies!! This pie is really quick and easy and is packed with flavour.

 This recipe makes a medium pie (for 2)
What you will need:
200g pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces
3/4 chicken breast or roast chicken, cut into 2cm pieces
Olive Oil
Garlic clove, crushed
1/2 brown onion, chopped
25g plain flour
25g butter
200g chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
1 sheet puff pastry
egg/milk to brush pastry

How to create:
- Oven to 180 degrees
- Place pumpkin onto a tray and drizzle with oil 
- In a frying pan, add some oil then cook chicken until cooked through, remove from pan
- Add butter to pan and melt, add onion and garlic, cook until soft 
- In a small bowl, make a paste with the flour and some of the chicken stock, add this to the onion mixture, cook for a couple of mins
- Add the rest of the stock to the pan, stir well and make sure there are no lumps, bring to the boil then remove from heat
- Put chicken in a bowl with pumpkin and sage, season and then add to the stock mixture
- Pour pie mixture into pie dish and cover with pastry, trim sides if you want or leave them if you want a bit more pastry to have with your filling
- Brush with egg or milk and prick a few holes in the top 
- Bake in the oven for about 30-40 mins or until pastry is cooked and golden
- Serve with roasted veggies

Roast Pumpkin Soup

With rain falling from the sky and a cool breeze at your back, all you feel like is something that will warm the soul, and let me tell you, this soup sure does the trick. This is an adapted recipe from my mum's, it's super easy and delicious.

What you will need:
To create:
1 medium pumpkin, chopped in to roughly 2cm cubes (don't be too fussy as you blend it later)
1 small-medium sweet potato, roughly chopped like the pumpkin
1 medium brown onion, roughly chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock (you may need a bit more depending on the size of your veggies)
1 dessert spoon of curry powder
salt and pepper
olive oil

- Oven to 200 degrees
- In a bowl combine the pumpkin, sweet potato, onion and garlic, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the curry powder over, season here, toss to coat all veggies well
- Roast in the oven for about 40 mins (or until cooked through and slightly golden)
- Place roasted vegetables into a large pot on the stove and pour in stock (put a bit less than recommended as you can always add more once you have blitzed it), simmer for about 20 mins,
- Blitz with stick blender, add more stock if it's too thick
- check if it needs seasoning again
- Serve with toast, fresh coriander and natural yoghurt/cream


Blue Velvet Cupcakes

Cupcakes are fun but what could be more fun than BLUE cupcakes!! These are very yummy and to be honest, the icing is my favourite part (but who doesn't love cream cheese frosting?!)

What you will need:
300g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1tsp bi-carb soda
315g caster sugar
250ml buttermilk 
200g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, whisked
1tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp blue food colouring 

250g cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
50g butter, room temperature
1tsp vanilla

How to create:
- Oven to 170 degrees and line a muffin tray with patty pans
- Sift flour, cocoa powder and bi-carb into a bowl, stir through sugar
- Whisk the buttermilk, eggs, vinegar and vanilla in a jug, this mixture looks quite gross but trust me it's ok
- Make a well in the center of the flour and add the butter milk mixture
- Stir until just combined, stir in the food colouring
- Put into patty pans and bake for about 20-25 mins or until skewer comes out clean
- Transfer to a wire rack and cool

To make icing:
- Use electric beaters and beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla, then add the icing sugar and beat until well combined
- Pipe onto cooled cupcakes

Optional: sprinkle cupcakes with sprinkles or something else blue of your choice

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Salted Caramel Brownies

Heading over to our friends' places always calls for a sweet treat to be created. This weekend Nat baked chocolate brownies (same recipe as the chocolate fudge cake-Donna Hay) and salted caramel to pour over the top. Who could resist that? Not me, that's for sure! They didn't last long and I think they will probably be a regular on our list of desserts.  

Carrot Cake

For years I have been making this cake, adapting it for been birthday cakes, cupcakes and even baby wedding cakes! It's such an easy recipe and was given to me from a great friend of mine Lucy, so thanks Lucy- best carrot cake recipe ever!
I made it for a friends birthday recently and then, getting massive food envy wanted to make one for us to eat. Luckily we were going to a friends place for dinner the other weekend and I thought what a perfect opportunity to make the carrot cake and get to eat it too!!

You will need:
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 cup self raising flour, sifted
2 tsp baking soda, sifted
2 tsp cinnamon, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup raw sugar
3 cups grated carrot
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup oil
optional: chopped pecans or walnuts

125g philly cream cheese
3 cups icing sugar
50g butter, room temperature

How to create:
- Oven to 180, lightly grease 22cm cake tin
- Combine all sifted ingredients
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine
- Pour into cake tin and bake for an hour or until skewer comes out clean

- add all icing ingredients and combine well, this can be done in a mix master or with hand beaters 

Optional: To turn this into cup cakes, make the cake batter the same way, put into patty pans in a muffin tray and bake for about 20-30 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

To assemble:
- Cut the cake in half (horizontally) and ice the center layer, place the top section of the cake back on and ice with remaining icing, you can also ice the sides if you want too. 
- To decorate either sprinkle over some nuts or make some toffee (1/4 cup water, 1 cup sugar in a saucepan, swirl gently until it is an amber colour) sprinkle in some grated carrot, pour onto a tray lined with baking paper and let it set, crack the toffee shard and arrange on the cake.
- The toffee will melt if it is kept moist but this adds a nice caramel sauce over the cake.